The Shining

Critics Consensus

Though it deviates from Stephen King's novel, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is a chilling, often baroque journey into madness -- exemplified by an unforgettable turn from Jack Nicholson



Reviews Counted: 73

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Average Rating: 4/5

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Movie Info

"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" -- or, rather, a homicidal boy in Stanley Kubrick's eerie 1980 adaptation of Stephen King's horror novel. With wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and psychic son Danny (Danny Lloyd) in tow, frustrated writer Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) takes a job as the winter caretaker at the opulently ominous, mountain-locked Overlook Hotel so that he can write in peace. Before the Overlook is vacated for the Torrances, the manager (Barry Nelson) informs Jack that a previous caretaker went crazy and slaughtered his family; Jack thinks it's no problem, but Danny's "shining" hints otherwise. Settling into their routine, Danny cruises through the empty corridors on his Big Wheel and plays in the topiary maze with Wendy, while Jack sets up shop in a cavernous lounge with strict orders not to be disturbed. Danny's alter ego, "Tony," however, starts warning of "redrum" as Danny is plagued by more blood-soaked visions of the past, and a blocked Jack starts visiting the hotel bar for a few visions of his own. Frightened by her husband's behavior and Danny's visit to the forbidding Room 237, Wendy soon discovers what Jack has really been doing in his study all day, and what the hotel has done to Jack. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

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Jack Nicholson
as Jack Torrance
Shelley Duvall
as Wendy Torrance
Philip Stone
as Delbert Grady
Lia Beldam
as Young Woman in Bathtub
Billie Gibson
as Old Woman in Bathtub
David Baxt
as Forest Ranger
Manning Redwood
as Forest Ranger
Lisa Burns
as Grady Girl
Louise Burns
as Grady Girl
Burnell Tucker
as Policeman
Jana Sheldon
as Stewardess
Kate Phelps
as Receptionist
Norman Gay
as Injured Guest
Joe Turkel
as Lloyd the Bartender
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Critic Reviews for The Shining

All Critics (73) | Top Critics (13)

Audience Reviews for The Shining

Danny's not here right now Mrs. Torrance

Spencer Macklin
Spencer Macklin

Super Reviewer

Jack Nicholson's performance alone defines this frightening motion picture. Stanley Kubrick's The Shining may stray away from the Stephen King novel, but the film's disturbing tone and psychological barrage is memorable and, to this day, is held up as one of the most outstanding horror films ever made. 4/5

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer

Stanley Kubrick's brilliant adaptation of Stephen King's novel about a frustrated writer forced to take the job as caretaker at a remote hotel consumed with evil. Outstanding performances by Jack Nicholson and the rest of a top notch cast add to the eerie premise created by Kubrick's use of lighting,colors, foreshadowing, music, and attention to the slightest details. This film is by all means "A masterpiece of modern horror."

Eric S
Eric S

Super Reviewer


A writer and his family move in as caretakers to a secluded mountainside hotel for the winter, but a presence inhabiting it causes his mental disintegration leading to the urge for bloody murder. I'm not a fan of Stephen King. In fact, I'd go as far as to describe him as "a bag of cock". But what Kubrick did was to strip away the hokey nonsense of King's original novel and create a master class in haunting imagery and suspense. In fact, the supernatural elements of the story are almost irrelevant. The horror lies in the subtext of domestic violence; it's difficult to see a plaid wearing, balding middle-aged man as a terrifying monster, and Nicholson is hardly the most physically formidable presence. But in the classic scene in which he finally snaps, it is easy to see why waif-like Shelly Duvall (or anyone like her) would be incredibly intimidated. Without resorting to unnecessary gore Kubrick's visuals are disturbingly intense and complimented by one of the eeriest soundtracks ever written, the sense of unease is as creepy and atmospheric as any created. Far from being dated, compared to what passes for "horror" these days The Shining has actually improved with age. Another example of Kubrick being Jack of all trades and master of all.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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